When former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson was hired by Urban Meyer to the Ohio State Buckeyes next offensive coordinator, things appeared to be looking up. He has a very creative mind that would bring plenty of unique play-calling and a different kind of offense to the Buckeyes that they haven’t since Tom Herman left in following the 2014 championship season in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
Through two games so far this season, Ohio State has been lacking that creativeness offensively and in roughly six of the eight quarters, their offense has been stagnant. While some have blamed fifth-year quarterback and three-time captain J.T. Barrett, who hasn’t seemed to be the same since Herman left, others have blamed the play-calling and lack of creativity along with the wide receiver group not being able to get open.
While talking to the media on Wednesday, Wilson took the brunt of the blame, admitting that he must do a better job going forward. Here’s what he had to say, according to Eleven Warriors’ Dan Hope.
“I think I got to do a better job through practice, organization and through game calling to put our kids in better places. I was awful Saturday,” Wilson said. “At the end of the day, I think I just got to do a better job of piecing it together, anticipating and some practice things to get us in rhythm and what we’re going to emphasize and gain some confidence and gain some momentum and efficiency as an offense, instead of being all over the place.”
Meyer has already made it known that he is very frustrated with the offense so far this season. While he has stated that Ohio State has six receivers who will receive significant playing time, those same six haven’t been able to separate themselves from one another, much like they haven’t been able to separate themselves (and get open) against opposing defensive backs.
Although Wilson believes that the receivers must do a better job of getting open downfield, he also said that he can help them do so by making better play calls to allow each receiver to play with their strengths rather than their weakness.
“We were an offense that was disjointed Saturday and that’s as much of the rhythm of the game, the play calling than a kid can separate from a route or run a route,” Wilson said. “We got tremendous athletes and great route-runners. J.T. can throw the football. It’s me getting us in a rhythm and playing offense the way we need to play … I haven’t given those guys a chance.
“When we get playing with 11 guys together and get clicking, those guys will be open, the QB will make his plays, the run game will work and we’ll look like a good offense. We’ll see how close we can get this week to get that thing back to being elite like we need to be and we should be.”
While some believe that the offense will not be able to improve as long as Barrett is behind center, Wilson believes that the offense (and Barret) will have much more success if the offensive coordinator puts Ohio State in the right positions when they have the ball.
“He’s going to look good, at the end of the day, when we, starting with me, do the job and get it going,” Wilson said. “He is a phenomenal manager, and it’s my job to get us in position where he can be the player he is.
“I know he’s disappointed with the way he played,” Wilson added. “I know I and his surrounding teammates got to help him.”
Wilson has taken much of the blame, but plenty of fans will stay place the blame on Barrett’s shoulders and even continue to argue that Meyer needs a new starting quarterback. An opposing coach, who studies the Buckeyes’ film, acknowledged that it’s more an Ohio State offense problem rather than just a Barrett problem. Here’s what he told Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel.
“I think it’s probably more the offense than the quarterback,” he said. “I like J.T. and think he’s a capable athlete. The offense is hindering his ability to excel. It’s more of the offense than the player, in my opinion.
“There’s not a lot of creativity,” said the coach. “He’s doing a lot of the same things he did at Utah. We thought it would be different [with Kevin Wilson], but it hasn’t been.”
With 10 games still to go in the regular season, Ohio State still has plenty of time to prove that their offense can be lethal, along with being able to prove that they are (and can be) one of the best team’s in the country going forward.